Farlington Marshes 16 May 2021

Despite a poor forecast of heavy showers and strong winds some enthusiastic newcomers to the group prevailed upon the pessimistic veterans to go ahead with the walk; there was no doubt at the end which group were right! Although we endured a couple of short drenchings in the open the periods of dry permitted some excellent birding. On the walk to the sea wall we noted several passerine species including greenfinches, meadow pipits, whitethroats and linnets as well as the unmistakeable shouting of the first of many Cetti’s warblers. The low tide  mud of the harbour was largely clear of birds apart from numerous gulls while the lake held a few ducks including gadwalls and shelducks. On the edges a couple of redshanks prowled while two common terns appeared briefly. Over the marsh numerous swifts and swallows swirled and remained our companions for the entire walk. Scanning of the marshes showed numerous nesting lapwings vigorously protecting their nests and at least five families of Canada geese with goslings. Among them at a considerable distance was a Russian single white-fronted goose, a late-lingering juvenile that had been hanging around for several days. As we reached the south of the reserve a peregrine falcon passed over us and waders began to appear, oystercatchers at first and then the odd curlew. Then the rising tide brought dozens of mobile dunlins and a great crested grebe into view while skylarks sang behind us. On the east side the filling of the channel brought a greater variety of waders closer to us although in small numbers including ringed plovers, a whimbrel, turnstones and two bar-tailed godwits while on the marsh we saw a single barnacle goose. Then we spotted a flock of grey plovers two of which were in stunning breeding plumage. The pools by the information hut produced several additional sightings including four Mediterranean gulls, little egrets, a little grebe and an avocet, the first of six that we saw. A bearded tit pinged in the reeds close to us but unsurprisingly failed to show. The consensus was that the walk with its species list of 56 had been thoroughly worthwhile.